Miami County, Ohio Genealogical Researchers -- Sponsored by the Computerized Heritage Association


    Spafford W. Maxwell is a representative of a well known family of Ohio pioneers. He was born in Miamisburg, Montgomery county on the 20th of October, 1836. His father, Thomas Maxwell, was a native of Monmouth county, New Jersey, born May 29, 1800, and a son of Thomas Maxwell, Sr., whose people removed from Connecticut to New Jersey. Leaving the latter state in 1806, the grandfather made his way by team to Ohio, reaching Cincinnati at a time when it contained only one brick house. He settled at Franklin, Ohio, where he entered government land and there spent his remaining days, his death occurring when he had attained the age of sixty- seven years. His son, Thomas, was reared to manhood in Warren county, where he remained until eighteen years of age, when he went to Cincinnati and there followed the painter's trade for several years. On the expiration of that period he took up his abode in Miamisburg, Montgomery county, where be engaged in painting until his marriage to Miss Susan Jones, a native of Dayton, Ohio. Their union was blessed with four children: Stephen J., who became a farmer and died in Staunton township, Miami county; Martha A., deceased wife of William Duncan; Rachel A., who became the wife of Jonathan Rollins, and after his death wedded J. C. Winans; and Spafford W., the youngest and only survivor of the family. Soon after his marriage the father located on a farm in Montgomery county, where he remained until 1839, when he came to the farm upon which our subject now resides. He purchased one hundred and two acres of land on section 20 from Caleb Hathaway, who had entered it from the government. There was a double log house upon the farm, which was erected in 1815, and is still in use, one of the few landmarks of pioneer days yet remaining. Upon the farm which he there developed and improved Thomas Maxwell spent the remainder of his life, being called to the home beyond on the 11th of October, 1884. He was an active and influential member of the Presbyterian church of Troy and a man of the highest respectability. His wife died April 16, 1848, and the father afterward again married, his second union being with Annie Martin.

    Spafford W. Maxwell was only two years old when his parents came to the homestead farm in Miami county, upon which he was reared to manhood. He remained with his father and to him gave the benefit of his services until thirty years of age, when he was married, 392 January 8, 1868, to Rachel A. Devol. She was born in Staunton township April 23, 1842, a daughter of Harrison and Jane L. (Orr) Devol, the former a native of Chillicothe, Ohio. On coming to Miami county he located where Clarke Hikes now lives, and there Mrs. Maxwell was born. She is the third of a family of four children, the others being: Hiram W., a resident of Indiana; John, who makes his home in Troy; and Sarah, wife of Willoughby Murphy, of Knoxville, Tennessee. The father died May 29, 1875, in the faith of the Methodist church, of which he was a member.

    After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Maxwell located upon a rented farm in Staunton township and lived upon land owned by others until 1876, when they returned to the old Maxwell homestead, which our subject purchased of his father. He has made most of the improvements upon the place and now has a farm whose neat and attractive appearance indicates his careful supervision and progressive methods. The home has been blessed by the presence of seven children, namely: Minnie J., wife of Edwin Foster, of Staunton township; Walter F., of Troy; Sarah E.; Annie M.; Bertha and Myrtie, twins; and Wilbur D. All are living with the exception of Myrtie, who died at the age of eighteen years.

    During the civil war Mr. Maxwell responded to the call for men to serve one hundred days and joined the army on the 29th of May, 1864, as a private of Company K, One Hundred and Forty-seventh Ohio Infantry, and was made corporal. He went to the defense of Washington, being on guard duty near the capital city throughout the term of his service. He is a Republican in his political views, and was one of the organizers and charter members of Coleman Post, G. A. R. He and his family are members of the First Presbyterian church of Troy, in which he has been an elder for twenty-one years. They take a deep interest in its work, doing much to promote its growth and welfare. Mr. Maxwell has never sought political preferment, yet to the response of his fellow townsmen he has served as justice of the peace, his incumbency in that office covering a period of twelve years. He has also been a member of the school board for twenty-five years, and the cause of education has found in him a warm friend, whose labors have been effective in promoting the work of the schools in this locality. As an official he is ever true and faithful to his duty, manifesting the same patriotic spirit which prompted his enlistment under the old flag. For sixty years he has been a resident of Miami county and has therefore witnessed the major part of its growth and development. He has seen the forests fall before the sturdy strokes of the woodsman and has watched the wild land transformed into rich farms, which have become the homes of a contented and prosperous people. Measures and movements calculated to promote the general good in securing his aid have received from him hearty encouragement and substantial assistance, and he is known as one of the reliable citizens of the community. He and his wife both enjoy the warm regard of many friends in his section of Miami county.

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